The beginning of the end.

In Hollywood, when something is successful, producers feel the itch to make more money out of it. This is how sequels have become fashionable. The truth is, most of the time the second and third volumes of films are a far cry from the original (but we've seen it differently as well, just look at Ace Ventura...), not to mention the fourth and nth parts... Many say making sequels equals ruining the film and many times I agree. Perhaps this is the reason why I prefer prequels - to see how it all started. In today's post I will write about three movies that show the beginning of a myth - after it was born.
1. Red Dragon

Though this is not exactly the film that tells the story of how Hannibal Lecter has become what he has become (that is Hannibal Rising), I like Red Dragon for many reasons, first of all because Hannibal is played by Anthony Hopkins and - let's be honest - he is inimitable. Second only, Ralph Fiennes and Edward Norton also star in the film that shows what happened right before the story of Silence of the Lambs. The other reason why I prefer this prequel is because William Blake's The Great Red Dragon has an important role in it and for me, it is perfectly enough to pay attention to a film.
2. Batman Begins

With Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne, I had expected a lot from Batman Begins and it was just what I've got. The Christopher Nolan-directed film tells the story the roots of Gotham City's saviour and though I think Katie Holmes has absolutely nothing to do in this movie, the rest of the cast is fabulous - Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman and Cillian Murphy. The question is: could all these people make a bad movie together? Definitely not. If you haven't seen it already, I highly recommend you to do so, especially since its sequel, The Dark Knight is about to arrive to a theatre near you with an even more compelling cast.
3. Casino Royale

I love James Bond movies. I always have, particularly because my generation's Bond was Pierce Brosnan who was just perfect for the role. And then came Daniel Craig and if my brother does not get it on DVD, I will probably never watch Casino Royale. But ever since I've seen it, I say it is the best 007 film I have ever seen. I might only say it because the final scenes are in Venice or more likely because - as you can see by this post - I love to see how it all started but Casino Royale is an entertaining movie I like to watch over and over again. But I would not be honest if I didn't mention that even if I like the film, I still can't make peace with Mr. Craig. In my humble opinion Clive Owen would have been the best choice for the 21st century Bond but I calm myself down with the thought that he didn't take the part to avoid being branded by it. On the other hand, Eva Green is gorgeous, just like every time. And the cars aren't bad either.


Joachim and his many scarves.

With all my respect for my German roots, when it comes to football I simply can not root for Germany. But it doesn't mean I don't like a man with style and their coach Joachim Löw is certainly someone men should be inspired by when they stand in front of their wardrobes (if they have one) in the morning.

Looking at his outfits during the games you might observe one thing: he loves scarves a lot. And he is right - a scarf is the perfect accessory for a man, especially when he is wearing a "simple" black suit-white shirt combination (that is, in my opinion, is still one of the best choices a man can make in getting dress) since it makes the whole outfit look elegantly sophisticated.

To have more black suits and white shirts is obligatory for a working man and scarves have the effect of making the look different every time.

But it's not just a suit that can use a scarf, an everyday outfit looks equally "chic" with one.


Le Belle Noiseuse.

Many say that French movies are boring, especially elder ones and some also believe that even the shortest movie seems to last forever. In the case of Jacques Rivette's La Belle Noiseuse, the latter might be true - and now I am not referring to its 236 minutes but to the emotion it creates in one.

For those who don't like art or the process of painting in general, La Belle Noiseuse is not a must-see. But for someone who is interested in creating something great, who wants to dig deep into the soul of a pianter and his muses, this film will seem no longer than any other wonderful masterpiece. Rivette won the Grand Prize of the Jury in Cannes with this drama that stars artists like Michel Piccoli (who, at 83 is still a working actor), Emmanuelle Béart (whom you might recognize from the brilliant 8 femmes or more likely from Mission:Impossible) and Jane Birkin (when it comes to her, it is impossible not to mention the Hermès
bag named after her and her rather impressive family /especially her trendsetter daughters, Lou Doillon and Charlotte Gainsbourg/).

I recommend this movie to everyone who likes "freelance" movies (there was no script when they were making the film so scenes were shot in sequential order and the work based upon the previously shot scenes) and - as I had already said - to those who have always wanted to stand behind the canvas of a painter who is working on his masterpiece.


Two things.

One reason why I love fashion is because many campaign shots are simply irresistible. I bet there have been myan exhibitions showin various fragrance ads and other pictures but unfortunately, I don't know of any... Anyway, here are the latest two 'posters' that I quite simply adore.

Christian Bale for Armani. Basically, as the writing say, it's Bruce Wayne for Armani since it's an ad that has double purposes: first, to promote Armani and second, to promote the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight. And though it's a not-so-ordinary photo, I love it because Christian Bale has something that makes it special. I couldn't really say what but it makes me feel like I am staring at an artwork. Besides, I've appreciated his talent ever since I saw American Psycho...

I love this Gaultier ad not only because I like it when a picture is both colorful and monochrome but also because campaigns normally don't involve the designer (though Jean-Paul is not the first one to do it, as we all know). When he was asked how he would describe this scent he said: "It's my type of woman — at the same time fragile and strong, like a tomboy that is a little androgynous in attitude so, you know, she can cut her hair if she wants
." Of course, this description screams for Agyness Deyn who is considered "model of the moment" (though I just can't be part of the craze for her) who left Burberry behind for good and let me say, this shoot I love more than her previous ones. If I were to organize an exhibition of fashion advertisements, I would absolutely put it on the wall!


Love Letters.

CNN has an interesting article about a fictional book that appears in Sex and the City: The Movie - "Love Letters From Great Men". Of course fans all around the world who love romance or simply want to read something Carrie and Big does that millions wanted to buy it, needles to say: in vain. But even if named book does not exist, here are some books that might be romantic and beautiful too, since we're talking about love letters...

This book with the rather unimpressive cover is claimed to be the "closest text" to the fictional one and it's already so popular it has become one of the 200 best sellers Amazon.

An other one is 50 Greatest Love Letters and it contains letters from Mozart, George Bush, Michelangelo, Hemingway, Kerouac and other famous and great people.

And then, there is Richard Tamplin's Famous love letters, published by Reader's Digest. The book has 4 categories and has letters by Frida Kahlo, Goethe and many others.

And for those who are not that intersted in love letters but want to read Beethoven's letter that has a major part in Sex and the City: The Movie, here it is, or at least a part of it (it is known as Letter to the Immortal Beloved):
Oh, My god! Why do we have to be separated, when it's loving so? My life, the same here that in Vienna, it's full of spins. Your love have made me at the same time the happier be and the most unfortunate be. At my age, I'd need already an uniformity, some normality in my life. Can it be in our relations?... angel, I just know that the mail is up every day. And that makes me think that you'll receive the letter soon.

Be quiet. Just watching with tranquillity our life we'll reach our goal to live together. Be quiet, love me. Today and yesterday, how I wish and how many drops thinking in you... in you... in you... my everything! Bye... always love me! Don't distrust never of the loyal heart of your inloved Ludwig. Forever yours, forever mine, forever ours."


Henry Gidel.

For those who love biographies, the biggest problem is probably that when they want to read about an artist, they don't know which book to choose because there are so many works about that famous person. Of course, it's only a problem for those who are not fanatic enough to read all the available books about an icon. And when I decide to read something authentic, entertaining and interesting, I turn to Henry Gidel.
The first time I heard of him was when I got his Picasso. I liked it that he managed to turn this book into something very much like a literary work yet he avoided being too literary (he never says "he thought to himself", something that I've met a few times in other books and that was a moment when I put them down, saying 'how on Earth would he know what he was thinking? He was not even born back then!') and it's also refreshing that in both fields of Picasso's life (women and art, and of course the mixture of these) he reveals the truth about certain legends. His accurate and amusing style led me to check what else he has written.

This is how I learnt about his Coco Chanel biography. Gabrielle Chanel was also legendary enough to make me want to read about her and once I am reading, I obviously want an authentic biography.

Since Gidel is someone who knows a lot about Parisian (or semi-Parisian) artists of the first part of the 20th Century (plus and minus 20 years), it is no wonder he decided to dig deep into the life of Jean Cocteau. This book is also important for me because beyond my respect for Cocteau, it mentions further facts about his friendship with Pablo Picasso.

And then, an other woman: Sarah Bernhardt and her rather American Dream-like life.

In brief: if you are planning to get to know the icons of the (near) past but want to avoid the dry academic phrases, Henry Gidel is your man.


The end of an era.

I think all of you know by now that designer Yves Saint Laurent, one of the most influential men of the 20th century passed away Sunday. All the blogs and websites are paying tributes to him, talking about his life, his achievements and "Le Smoking". As someone really interested in fashion and its history, I can not be an exception. But instead of a biography, I would like to share with you some Yves Saint Laurent quotes because they show more what kind of person he was than reading facts and numbers.

"Over the years I have learned that what is important in a dress is the woman who is wearing it."

"It pains me physically to see a woman victimized, rendered pathetic, by fashion."

"Isn't elegance forgetting what one is wearing?"

"I have often said that I wish I had invented blue jeans: the most spectacular, the most practical, the most relaxed and nonchalant. They have expression, modesty, sex appeal, simplicity - all I hope for in my clothes. "

"I want to thank all the women who have worn my clothes, the famous and the unknown, who have been so faithful to me and given me so much joy."

"The most beautiful clothes that can dress a woman are the arms of the man she loves. But for those who haven't had the fortune of finding this happiness, I am there."

.:Rest in peace:.


Can't buy me love...

The following short article was published in my town's newspaper a while ago and I thought I'd post it since it's really interesting and thought-wakening:

There are those beautiful moments when a cliché gets a new meaning. And to achieve all this there is nothing else to do than to buy a DVD. Inland Empire by David Lynch costs 4€, it goes to cart immediately. At the checkout the girl gives me an ungraceful smile as she takes the disc. Seeing my incomprehension, she explains: the film is a total chaos, has no point at all. Well, maybe it is not that simple, I say silently. But she gives me a clean-cut answer: then how can it be that though it lasts 3 hours, it only costs 4€ while Rush Hour 2 lasts only 88 minutes and it costs 16€? Why, is value measured in prices, I ask. She replies in a tone that suggests the appeal does not lie: isn't it what they say; time is money?*

I think there is no need to say what the conclusion is...

*The article was written by Z. F.
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